Inspiration

I noticed that I haven’t posted any historical sewing updates since the summer. I have been working on several projects though, and some are nearing completion. My blue regency dress is (finally) truly finished, so as soon as I can make some decent pictures I’ll write a post about it. I’m also working on 4 other projects, of which 3 are historical, so there’s more to come.

Meanwhile, it’s time for another inspiration post! This time about chintz, or rather, the 18th century (originally) Indian version of it. This fabric was used a lot in the Netherlands, including in much of the traditional clothing. I might write a more informational post on this type of chintz soon, but for now it’s time for pretty pictures. Starting with some jackets, on to dresses. In (somewhat) chronological order.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – 1810-1820

Fries Scheepvaart Museum

DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum 1755-75

Late 18th century

© Hugo Maertens — Bruges, Belgium 1750-1800

V&A, 1770-1780

Museum Rotterdam – 1780 – 1785

Winterthur Museum Collection – 1785-1795

Met, 1785–95

The Kyoto Costume Institute – 1780s

V&A – 1790-1795

Private collection Barreto-Lancaster – 1795

Inspiration – Pink 18th century

Because it’s summer, and even though pink is not my favorite color, the 18th century styles do it very well.

 

Some existing garments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some paintings:

 

Portrait of a Lady as a Shepherdess (Mrs. Colt according to a label on the reverse) by Circle of Joseph , 1692-1780.

 

Portrait of Miss Bache, by Christopher Steele (1733 – 1768)

 

Lady Charlotte Boyle, Marchioness of Hartington (1731-54) c. 1740 Attributed to Dorothy Savile, Countess of Burlington

 

ca. 1780 Maria Teresa of Savoy, countess of Artois by an unknown artist

Inspiration – Journal de la mode et du goût, 1790

I recently stumbled upon these lovely fashion plates from 1790, which appeared in the magazine ‘Journal de la mode et du goût’. Fashions from France, in the beginning of the revolution. You can clearly see this from the high amount of white/blue/red fabrics used, the colors of the revolution.

Now, pretty pictures!

 

 

Inspiration – new finds

Sometimes I see an image of a dress and I immediately fall in love with it. Those are the dresses I keep going back to, looking at the details and day dreaming of making it. It doesn’t happen too often, but recently I found 3 pieces I completely adore.

 

The first one is this 1880’s dress from the Met:

Every time I think that by now, I should have seen every dress in the metropolitan, an image pops up to prove me wrong. The great thing about the items in this collection is that they’re generally very well photographed. High-quality photos, and not just from one angle, which always annoys me because for so many (especially bustle) dresses the back is at least as relevant as the front and they’re not always symmetrical.

What struck me about this item was firstly the top. The lace at the top part and the silk part shaped almost like a corset is something I haven’t seen before. Other than that, I love the lace at the bottom. The color of the silk and the pattern on the fabric are things I like a little less, but you never know if it hasn’t colored with age.

When I went looking for more pictures, I found this:

This photo is amazing, it clearly shows how the bodice was realized, with two separate layers! It’s always great to see images of the construction of dresses, because it demystifies how they were made. This image also shows that the silk of the dress was originally more pink than now! I vastly prefer the more pinkish hue to the more brownish it has become.

Aside from the bodice, which I love, the back and bustle of this dress are amazing:

Look at the v-line at the back of the bodice, and that train! I’m still not crazy about the feather pattern, but the lace is beautiful.

I’d love to recreate this dress, but it would be a huge challenge. I’ve never made any bustle skirt, let alone one this complex. Moreover, that bodice is so particular that any pattern would be greatly adapted for it to look like this. And then there’s the issue of fabric, which would be very expensive. Silk is never cheap, and the only nice lace you can find is usually in the bridal-section of fabric stores. High-quality, and definitely not cheap. Still, it’s a dream, and this design might be worth the cost, so who knows.

 

The other two dresses I stumbled on are both from paintings. The first one is this lovely regency-scene:

 

Portrait of the Elisabeth, Amalie and Maximiliane of Bavaria (Joseph Karl Stieler)

The color of these dresses is just so lovely. What makes these amazing though, is probably also the scene, the fact that there’s two identical dresses for identical girls. Any recreation wouldn’t capture it fully, but the painting is definitely a favorite.

From the other painting, I first saw a close-up of the dress.

I always love cut-outs on bodices, so that in combination with all the lace and the deep brown of the rest of the dress made me love it instantly. I did some research, and found out it was actually a portrait of Marie-Antoinette with her children.

I’ve never made anything 18th century before and this is a dress which would require a huge amount of trimming, but it will definitely go onto my list of eye-candy!

18th century stripes

One of my favourite things about 18th century fashions are the fabrics, the colours and the prints. There’s a lot of lovely prints in this era, but one of the most common one is a simple stripe print. Of course, when incorporated into a late 18th century dress, stripes become anything but simple. Another good thing about stripes is that its relatively easy to find modern fabrics which can be used for this period! In this post some of my favourite late 18th century fashion plates involving stripes.

Of course, there’s the black/white grey type of stripe. I personally love this print.

Then there’s the revolutionary colour scheme of black, white and red. The colours of the revolution in France.

But, of course, any colour combination is possible. Purple/blue, or lime green/pink, or yellow green, etc.

Sewing – Stays

Last year, I made my first corset. All my previous sewing experience had been with modern of costumy garments, mostly a lot of simple skirts, so it was a challenge. Because I’d no idea how well it would turn out and mostly just wanted to try it out, I was hesitant to spend a lot on a commercial pattern. After looking through many online patterns, I settled on the pattern generator of this Danish website: http://www.scandinaviantailoring.com/dtta/interactive/korset_1/index.htm

I have no idea as to how historical the pattern is, but it creates a 18th century type silhouette, which was what I was looking for. The first mock-up didn’t really fit properly, but I think I managed to get it sort of right. I used construction methods learned from youtube, and sort of guessed where to place the boning, as the pattern didn’t say. Everything considered, I’m pretty happy with how well it turned out.

I made it out of left-over fabric of a skirt I made, it’s not very historically correct, but I love the pattern. I had two layers of strong fabric and one outer layer, used spring steel boning and black bias tape.

I didn’t take too many progress photos, but this one is while binding. I had to be very careful to stay away from the pins. It reminded me of a medieval weapon.

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When I started the binding I had 2 meters of bias band and figured that would be plenty. This was the amount I had left at the end. At least now I know that it takes about 2 meters to bind a corset with straps!

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The finished corset, lying flat, still without the ribbons or lacing cord:

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And on my dressform:

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